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The value of Canadian building permits dropped by a larger-than-expected 6.5 per cent in September to $8.3-billion (US$6.3-billion) because of declines in the residential sector, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Analysts in a Reuters poll had predicted a decline of 2.0 per cent. Statistics Canada revised an initial gain of 6.1 per cent in August down to 5.6 per cent.

Gains were reported in four Canadian provinces, with the largest increase in oil-rich Alberta, jumping 7.2 per cent. The largest decline was in Quebec, which saw building permit values drop by 20.5 per cent, mostly on cheaper permits for multi-family dwellings.

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The value of residential permits was down 10.7 per cent to $5.1-billion, Statistics Canada said, with declines reported in eight of the ten provinces. Meanwhile, the value of commercial permits rose 6.1 per cent, primarily because of several high-value permits for office buildings in Metro Vancouver.

Canadian municipalities, Statscan said, awarded $25.7-billion in permits in the third quarter, while the total value of permits issued in the first three quarters of 2019 was up 2.2 per cent from the same period in 2018

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